BOSTON - With the All-Star Game in Chicago for the NBA this year, it did not seem like there would be many storylines to come out of the weekend that would pertain to the Boston Celtics. Instead, the Celtics seemed to have their name attached to a number of different events over the course of the past three days.
Obviously, one of the main aspects of the weekend was the Kobe Bryant tribute. In a touching gesture, the All-Star Game MVP trophy was renamed in honor of Kobe and many players were quick to pay tribute to the legend at every turn, as shared by CBS Sports.
This came notably when Dwight Howard, returning to the Slam Dunk Contest after over a decade away from it, placed his Superman cape back on and showed Kobe's number twenty-four on his chest in place of the Superman S logo.
This might have been one of the only aspects of the dunk contest that was universally agreed to be good. In one of the greatest dunk-offs we have ever seen, Miami's Derrick Jones, Jr. and Orlando's Aaron Gordon went back and forth with some of the best dunks I have personally ever seen. The Orlando Magic were robbed, however! Back in 2016, Zach LaVine was awarded the contest, even though Gordon clearly deserved it. And Gordon was robbed again in 2020 because he definitely outperformed Jones, but was robbed by a biased Dwyane Wade on the judging table.
Most notably for Boston, though, is that the robbing of Gordon for a perfect score came on his final dunk when he slammed it home after jumping over Tacko Fall of the Celtics. Tacko is the league's tallest player at 7'7" in shoes and it was insane to see Gordon dunk over him. It was even crazier to see him not win for the feat.
Also on Saturday night was Jayson Tatum, attempting to defend his title in the Skills Challenge. He defeated Trae Young for the trophy last year. This year, he faced off against Indiana's Domantas Sabons in the first round and was promptly eliminated. Bam Adebayo ended up winning the contest (which I predicted and have the text receipts to prove it), but Tatum performed admirably anyway!
As for the actual All-Star Game, it seemed like everyone loved the new format as it made for a thrilling finish. Many regarded it as the best All-Star Game ever played. Team LeBron ended up prevailing by a score of 157-155 and it truly felt like a pick-up game. How did Tatum and Kemba Walker fare in the game? Pretty well! Tatum had a series of highlight-reel plays and Walker helped keep Team Giannis afloat. Kemba finished with 23 points on 9-18 shooting, as well as 5-11 from three. Tatum put up 6 points.
It was a super fun weekend for basketball fans, even though we all want justice for Aaron Gordon!
Image via Wikimedia Commons